San Diego Loyal SC vs. Phoenix Rising FC
Torero Stadium – University of San Diego
Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 24
TV – ESPN+, Fox 5 San Diego, Azteca 33 in Spanish
The San Diego Loyal look to win the season series against rival Phoenix Rising FC
Unbeaten in their last nine matches, the Loyal will host the first-place Rising in their biggest match of the season to date. This is already the fourth and final time they meet this year, and we aren’t even halfway done with the 2021 season.
San Diego is currently in second place in the Pacific Division with 21 points. Orange County SC matches with 21 points and well, but SD has the tiebreaker through two matchups so far this season. The Loyal’s record is (6-4-3) with a (-1) goal difference.
Phoenix sits atop the division with 26 points and an (8-2-2) record with a massive (+21) goal difference. When it comes to offense, Phoenix dominates almost every statical category.
The Rising continues to score multiple goals per match, posing a threat to every defender in the USL Championship. Through 12 matches, Phoenix leads the USL with 31 total goals and 231 shot attempts. Phoenix is exactly 40 shot attempts ahead of the next club, San Antonio FC.
Last Time Out
In San Diego’s previous match, they defeated Orange County SC 2-1 in a late-game stunner. The story of the match is the incredible come-from-behind victory with only ten men to utilize.
Toward the end of the first half, defender Grant Stoneman was issued his first yellow card of the match. Stoneman had possession of the ball, but the referee saw something he deemed illegal, and it left many questioning the call. Just 15 minutes after the start of the second half, the referee showed Stoneman his second yellow card that disqualified him, leaving the Loyal with only 10 men.
OC scored their only goal of the match just seven minutes later, and it seemed like they would give the Loyal their first home loss of the season.
It didn’t take long, but San Diego responded with two goals in two minutes to take the lead late in the match.
10 men, down by one, two goals in two minutes for the 🆆.
We had to watch the tape back just to make sure it was real! 🤯 pic.twitter.com/YVxbB0IwYm
— San Diego Loyal (@SanDiegoLoyal) July 15, 2021
The Loyal just keep on winning.
What to expect in the fourth matchup of the season
Torero Stadium will be as loud as it’s been all season when the Loyal host their rivals for the final time this year. So far in the season series, the record is (1-1-1). Phoenix dominated in the first matchup, winning comfortably 4-1. The second match looked completely different, as the Rising scored two goals in stoppage time to force a 2-2 draw. San Diego won the third match 2-1 and looked like the better team in the last two matches.
Phoenix is looked at as one of the top teams in the USL Championship, if not the best. But it seems like Manager Landon Donovan and company have the Rising’s number recently. That could easily not be the case Saturday night, but the truth is told, Phoenix is certainly not comfortable playing against the Loyal, and it has shown.
The Loyal doesn’t feel threatened by the league’s top-scoring offense. San Diego is going to continue to play aggressively, and they will do it with their style of play. Using the wingers frequently and trying to find the gaps and holes in the defense.
Midfielders Jack Blake and Alejandro Guido are playing well as of late and are one of the biggest reasons for their recent success. Look for them to control the offense for San Diego, as they look to take the season series.
Goalkeeper Trey Muse leads the USL in saves with 47. He continues to impress and is also a major reason for the team’s success.
- Stoneman’s red card was later revoked, and the defender will be allowed to suit up Saturday night.
- Jack Blake has been extended through 2023. The midfielder is staying in San Diego for at least two more seasons.
- Manager Landon Donovan received the USL Coach of the Month honor for the month of June.